Showing posts with label Abra. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Abra. Show all posts

Monday, November 22, 2010

Abra: Tayum Church, Bangued Cathedral & the Gabriela Silang Monument

Abra was the first province on my recent 1800-kilometer around North Philippines. I left Manila the previous evening and arrived in Abra just in time for sunrise. The roads were in relatively good condition and the views of the mountains, rice fields and the Abra River were picturesque.

Welcoming the visitor is a tunnel that was cut through a mountain. Above the tunnel entrance is the seal of Abra. Right beside the tunnel is a monument of Gabriela Silang. But I decided to stop on the way back since it was still a bit dark.

My first stop for the day was the Tayum Church, a National Cutlural Treasure. Tayum is about 10 minutes away from Bangued. Mass was still ongoing when I arrived.

According to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Tayum Church or Church of Santa Catalina de Alejandria was built in the 19th century by the secular clergy among the Christianized Tinguians. Notice also the convento which is actually across the church.

From Tayum, I motored back to Bangued to visit the Bangued Cathedral. On the way, I was pleased to see some ancestral houses still standing. Many of these houses are made of brick, both first and second floors.

The Bangued Cathedral is also relatively preserved. Right beside it is its old convento which is now a school. But there is another church worth visiting and this is the Bangued Cemetery Chapel. Unfortunately, it was locked. So I wasn't able to see the interior.

On the way back down to Ilocos Sur, I stopped by the Gabriela Silang Monument in San Quintin. As we all know, Gabriela Silang was an insurgent leader who led the Ilocano freedom movement after the assassination of her husband Diego Silang on May 28, 1763. She was captured and executed by the Spanish on September 29, 1763.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ivan Henares sets foot on all 79 provinces of the Philippines

When I got off the plane this morning at the Masbate Airport, there was a strong sense of fulfillment. I could truly say that I have seen the Philippines. Masbate was the last province I had not visited. And with my arrival this morning, I am proud to say that I have visited all 79 provinces of the Philippines.

The last few weeks was hectic. I wanted to achieve the goal before 2010 ended. In October, I found myself breezing through the last four provinces of Mindanao which I had not visited yet - Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur. I endured several hours at a time on buses and boats given my limited time. And on my last day, I virtually traveled from morning until early morning the next day. I got to visit Dahican Beach, a popular surfing area in Mati, the waterfalls of Maragusan, stayed a night with the Manobo community of Sitio Panlabuhan in the Agusan Marsh, and marveled at the spectacular Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig.

Just yesterday, I had arrived from a 1800-kilometer drive around North Philippines to visit Abra, Apayao, Kalinga and Quirino. The views during the drive were so refreshing. It made me even prouder of our country. Highlights of the trip included visits to the Tayum Church, a National Cultural Treasure, the ruins of the Pudtol Church, the Chico River and Dam in Tabuk, and a peek inside the Aglipay Caves.

And just as soon as I arrived home, I found myself packing my bags again for Masbate. The Buntod Reef Marine Sanctuary is a must-visit when in Masbate City. It has an islet or sandbar with various species of mangrove trees. During high tide, you might be lucky to spot a pawikan amongst the trees since there are a lot of them there.

I still can't sleep since the high from having visited all the provinces of the Philippines is one-of-a-kind! The Philippines is such a beautiful place.

Update: Dinagat Islands was reinstated as a province in March 2011. With my visit to Dinagat Islands late last year, I've visited all 80 provinces of the Philippines.
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